A Bacolod-based homestyle brand has been receiving a deluge of trade inquiries for its products from prospective American buyers after a lull due to the coronavirus, bullish about the return of export orders to its pre-pandemic trend.
“We are not all that big so we are able to continue (operations) but on a small scale (and) get ready for the surge (of orders) coming back,” Artisana Island Crafts president Antoniette Colmenares said.
Colmenares cited a buyer based in America saying the United States economy is vibrant now and as more Americans stay home, the trend is to renovate their homes.
“People are wanting to make sanctuary out of their homes so there is a demand for the products that we do (make) because ours is homeware, things that you use in your house to enhance it, to give life and color to (it),” she said, underscoring the need to seize this export opportunity.
Colmenares said her company started getting trade inquiries towards the last quarter of last year after a lot of buyers cancelled their orders at the onset of the pandemic.
“Most of those who sent inquiries, they’re already old buyers, they were existing buyers before. So more or less, it is really just a matter of determining what product collection they are going to carry for this season but the thing is, because of the economic situation, their volumes are not as big as before,” she added.
Colmenares said the homestyle brand is working to diversify its products to meet potential export orders.
“Diversifying our products is really part of our product development so that’s a given because we always work on demand-driven projection,” she said.
“One of the most important things aside from looking at the market is really the continuous product development because I think the product life cycles now are shorter so you have to already be on your toes to make new things and to anticipate trends,” she added.
Colmenares said they are also looking at other overseas markets aside from the US, its currently only export market.
“If there is an opportunity to expand the market, we grab it, we take it, we don’t say no even if we know that there are challenges to it like if you take longer to deliver, it will take longer to produce so we have to embrace the opportunity as well as all the challenges,” she added.
Colmenares also underscored the importance of digital onboarding for businesses.
“Now for us to anticipate the global market and how to serve it because eventually, the surge will really come back, it might take time. So we have to be ready to serve that surge,” she said.